May 19, 2005 09:00 ET

IBM and Toppan Printing Conclude Agreement to Jointly Develop Advanced Photomasks

Goal Is Early Establishment of 45nm Photomask Production Process

BURLINGTON, VT and TOKYO -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 19, 2005 -- IBM Corporation and Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. today announced an agreement to jointly develop photomasks for next generation, 45-nanometer (nm) semiconductor manufacturing processes. The two companies will develop a photomask process intended to enable early production of 45nm devices. Approximately US$200 million is expected to be invested by the two companies.

Development work will be conducted at IBM's plant in Burlington, Vermont, USA, and evaluated at IBM's advanced 300-millimeter semiconductor wafer production facility in East Fishkill, New York, USA. As part of this development work, Toppan will assign engineers to work with IBM's mask development team in Burlington. By combining their respective 65nm photomask manufacturing technologies, which have already been developed, the two companies have set a goal of developing 45nm photomasks that will be ready for production around mid-2007, when industry demand is expected to gather momentum. Toppan plans to transfer the jointly developed manufacturing process from IBM's Burlington operation to its own plants, and to establish its own production system in order to provide customers with 45nm photomasks for the early stages of commercialization.

Semiconductors have become increasingly sophisticated due to growing demand for telecommunication devices and highly complex and multifunctional digital consumer electronic products. Advanced photomasks are a critical part of the semiconductor production process. It is vital that semiconductor manufacturers and photomask manufacturers work closely together to develop the chip manufacturing process and the appropriate photomask for that process at the same time.

IBM is a recognized innovator in the chip industry for its development and introduction of semiconductor process technologies and materials, often collaborating with industry leaders. Technologies developed by IBM are used in its fabs and in the manufacturing processes of other semiconductor manufacturers. With this joint photomask development initiative, industry-wide R&D efforts for commercial production of 45nm technology is likely to accelerate.

"IBM and Toppan will bring together formidable skills and resources to create an industry-leading 45-nanometer photomask technology," said Dr. Douglas Grose, general manager, technology development and manufacturing, IBM. "This agreement is a logical extension of our strategy to develop a common, global process technology platform with key semiconductor fabrication companies. Joining with Toppan in this development effort will ensure IBM's continued mask technology leadership to meet the future semiconductor needs of IBM systems and our OEM clients worldwide."

Naoki Adachi, president of Toppan, said, "We are delighted to conclude this joint development agreement with IBM, the world's most advanced semiconductor processing company. We believe this joint initiative will place IBM and Toppan at the forefront of advanced photomask technology development, and thus will enable us to contribute a great deal to the technological innovation in the world's semiconductor industry. The expertise accumulated in cooperation with IBM will help Toppan maintain its position as the world's top photomask manufacturer, even at the 45nm process node."

About IBM

IBM develops, manufactures and markets state-of-the-art semiconductor and interconnect technologies, products and services including industry-leading Power Architecture microprocessors. IBM semiconductors are a major contributor to the company's position as the world's largest information technology company. Its chip products and solutions power IBM eServer and TotalStorage systems as well as many of the world's best-known electronics brands.

IBM semiconductor innovations include dual-core microprocessors, copper wiring, silicon-on-insulator and silicon germanium transistors, strained silicon, and eFUSE, a technology that enables computer chips to automatically respond to changing conditions.

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About Toppan Printing

Toppan Printing is the world's premier photomask manufacturer. The company supports the global semiconductor industry, from the initial launch of the semiconductor manufacturing process through to commercial production, by providing state-of-the-art photomask technology. In April 2005, Toppan Printing acquired DuPont Photomasks Inc., which was re-named Toppan Photomasks Inc. Toppan is the only global photomask manufacturer, providing the highest quality products in a timely manner to customers across Japan, the United States, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit

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